July 17, 2020

Intelligent Lighting

Intelligent Lighting

‘Innovation is about transforming the familiar into the extraordinary…’

As our awareness shifts towards all the benefits of energy efficiency, many homeowners are widening their exploration into sustainable lifestyle options. Intelligent and flexible light control systems integrate easily and in addition to offering quite substantial savings, they beef up home security and even  enhance the aesthetic of our homes while simultaneously addressing our circadian rhythms.

If you tend to feel sluggish in the morning, you’re not alone. People all over the world observe Daylight Saving Time, extending daylight an hour into the evening, completely upsetting our internal clocks. Fortunately, the LED industry has given us smart lighting solutions that mimic sunsets and sunrises to help our bodies naturally ease into resting or waking states.

In fact, from managing our circadian rhythms to providing home security, entertainment and more, the lighting industry has been busy developing a variety of bulbs that not only illuminate but offer many additional features.

Intelligent lighting replaces traditional light bulbs with smart bulbs. These fit into the existing sockets in your home. An internet connected hub then connects all of the bulbs from a centralised location providing control over the lighting in your home.

Smart Lighting generally uses mesh networking, where each smart bulb wirelessly connects to its nearest neighbour. The network is controlled by a hub that plugs into your router, enabling your other networked devices such as your phone or tablet to communicate with your bulbs

Comfy Light

This one looks and functions like an ordinary bulb but it doubles as a home surveillance system. It features an integrated motion sensor that sends alerts to your smartphone when detecting movement. It can also be set to flash, grabbing your neighbours attention while also deterring intruders. 

The mobile app allows remote activation to simulate an occupied home while you’re away. Some systems can capture video footage and in addition to live views and recorded footage to be stored in the cloud

LED Smart Bulb

These bulbs cover in and outdoor flood lamp versions, all of which are Bluetooth controlled via an iOS or Android app. Like many other LED bulbs, it can be dimmed and its hues as well as white colour temperature adjusted on demand. Programmed to turn on or off and recreate a sunrise or sunset at specific times it assists users to better sleep and more alert waking. Timer settings can be especially useful during holidays as the home never appears unoccupied.

A music-sync function adds an exciting element to entertaining. The music responsive, synchronised light show colour can be set to shift, fade in and out or subtly pulse.

Research suggests that white colour temperature can affect everything from sleep to alertness and tunable white LED has become a must have. These bulbs deliver every shade of white to mimic every possible variation of daylight. A mobile app controls the bulbs and their various lighting spectrum's, from gradual sunrise or sunset presenting a dim to warm as opposed to dim to dark sequence. 

Music lovers could include an integrated audio speaker that connects via Bluetooth to mobile devices and if the sound of a single speaker doesn’t cut it, up to six additional satellite bulbs can be connected to produce a surround sound effect and can be set to stream from popular services such as Spotify.

From light bulbs and plugs to light switches and wall panels, smart lights are here to stay and with so many options you may well be tempted to install them everywhere.

5 Reasons to get Smart

There's a lot to be said for an integrated home connected lighting set up, aside from great features like automated holiday mode lighting, the novel colour changing bulbs, there’s the convenience of turning off all of the lights the kids left on with a single voice command as you go to bed.

  1. You'll want to pick a platform

The first question worth thinking about before you buy smart lights, which platform do you use to control them? Most options offer their own control apps that let you group lights together and schedule them to turn on and off at specific times but we’re pretty sure you'll be wanting to smarten up more than just your lights.

If that's the case, you'll want to consider a wider smart home platform to deal with all of the different devices you may choose.

Pairing smart lights with voice assistants is one of the most popular ways to do it. Whether it's the Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, or Amazon's Alexa, each makes a capable connected home control point, particularly if you're willing to put a smart speaker or a smart display somewhere central. If you have one of those, adding lights to control via your assistant of choice is simple and you'll be able to use them alongside things like cameras, thermostats, and smart security systems.

  1. Hub or Network?

Smart lights use wireless transmissions to send and receive their signals and different bulbs use different methods to get the job done. Some use built in Wi-Fi radios to connect directly with your router letting you control them remotely wherever you have an internet connection. Others use Bluetooth radios to connect directly to your phone within 50 feet or so. To control bulbs from further away, you'll need a Wi-Fi hub to relay the signals to your router and on to you via the cloud.

Some may prefer a local wireless network for your smart home gadgets, a hub plugged into your router in order to translate those signals for your home network or you could skip the hub and connect directly with your phone for basic controls. You'll also find a number of smart home gadgets that double as a hub to translate those signals into something your Wi-Fi router can understand.

  1. They cost less than you’d think

LED light bulbs keep getting better and cheaper and that extends to smart lights, including great picks from well known brands. Meanwhile, a decent smart light switch doesn't need to break the bank. Even fancy colour changing bulbs aren't that hard to afford these days, with many well tested options from reputable brands.

  1. Get a better night's rest

Your brain is pretty sensitive to light, which plays a huge role in our sleep cycles. When it's dark for a while, our brain tells us we're tired and that we should go to bed. When the sun comes up and it gets bright again, our brain senses it and tells us it's time to wake up.

Smart lights can help you hack that biological clockwork by simulating a natural, slow sunrise to ease you out of bed early morning. We also have an easier time falling asleep when setting bedroom smart lights to a low setting, then tell them to fade out slowly over 20 minutes.

Some bulbs allow you to trigger a customized fade with something like a voice command and can automatically sync with your Google Assistant alarms in the morning. Just turn the feature on, set an alarm with the Assistant, and your bulbs of choice will slowly begin to fade up 30 minutes before it goes off.

  1. Consider switches and plugs too

If you're shopping for smart lights, you'll find the most options by sticking with smart bulbs. That said, definitely consider adding smart plugs and smart light switches into the mix.

On the plug front, you'll find many options that can automate anything you plug in. Use one with a lamp and you can automate it to turn on and off whenever you choose or by using voice commands, all while using whatever bulb you like. Smart plugs are also a great fit for alternatives like decorative string lights.

Smart light switches can save you money if you have a group of light bulbs wired to a single switch. Your smart switch automations and voice controls will continue working even when the light's turned off.

Talk to Canterwood Partnership about getting your home connected…

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